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Foot (Edinb). 2018 Jun;35:56-62. doi: 10.1016/j.foot.2018.01.006. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Does neuromuscular electrostimulation have the potential to increase intrinsic foot muscle strength?

Author information

1
Department of Human Locomotion, Chemnitz University of Technology, Straße der Nationen 62, 09111 Chemnitz, Germany. Electronic address: florian.ebrecht@hsw.tu-chemnitz.de.
2
Department of Human Locomotion, Chemnitz University of Technology, Straße der Nationen 62, 09111 Chemnitz, Germany. Electronic address: freddy.sichting@hsw.tu-chemnitz.de.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an eight-week neuromuscular electrostimulation program on the intrinsic foot muscle strength. The results were compared with those from a passive and an active control group.

METHODS:

74 healthy participants were recruited and divided into three groups: a neuromuscular electrostimulation group (n=19), a passive control group (n=15) with no further intervention, and an active control group following a running protocol with minimal shoes (n=40). The electrostimulation and running groups followed a training protocol consisting of two sessions per week over a period of eight weeks. Three characteristics of intrinsic foot muscle strength were investigated: cross sectional area of the abductor hallucis muscle, longitudinal arch stability, and intrinsic foot muscle fatigue.

RESULTS:

After eight weeks of intervention, the cross sectional area increased by 16.3% for the running group with a large effect size (0.801) according to Cohen's d. The electrostimulation group showed no such effect. The increase in the cross sectional area had no impact on longitudinal arch stability or intrinsic foot muscle fatigue results.

CONCLUSION:

This study investigated neuromuscular electrostimulation as a prevention and rehabilitation strategy. The results indicate that, compared to minimally shod running, the effects of electrostimulation on healthy participants might be too small to be detected. Further, the results provide evidence that the static navicular drop test is not sensitive enough to indicate intrinsic foot muscle strength. This appears clinically relevant, as this test is often used by therapists to evaluate patients' longitudinal arch function.

KEYWORDS:

Intrinsic foot muscles; Minimal shoes; Neuromuscular electrostimulation; Static navicular drop; Ultrasound

PMID:
29803167
DOI:
10.1016/j.foot.2018.01.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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